By Daud Olatunji
ABEOKUTA—GOVERNOR Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State has said the economic benefits of the African drum festival are huge for the state, noting that no successor would want to kill the festival.
Amosun said the state has partnered Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka towards the success of the 2018 festival, the third edition of its annual drums festival.
The governor said this during a press conference heralding this year’s edition of the festival.
Amosun said the festival, with the theme, ‘Reviving Our Culture in Drums’, was a unique platform aimed at bringing Africans together through drums to showcase the continent’s rich culture.
He said: ‘’The third week in April of every year, all roads will be leading to Abeokuta for African Drums Festival along with exciting activities, such as road shows, conferences, workshops, and exhibitions.
“What we are trying to do is to have a system-driven environment such that whether we are here or not, this has come to stay.
“And that is why we are investing so much in human capital so that no one would come and say he’s not doing the festival. Whoever is there, it is not about Amosun, it is about Ogun State. The way we are doing this, it’s taking root and drawing economic benefit so much that everybody is showing interest.
“The economic benefit would be huge and this is the way to go and we will showcase and give platforms to talents from the state but this is not to say we are localising the festival.”
“We have been lucky enough for you to know that we are not God, but this one that is coming you should know we have won but whether it is Amosun that is here or not Amosun drum festival will continue.
“What we are trying to do is to build a system driven environment such that whether we are here or not this has come to stay. It is not what Mr. B will come and say I am not doing.”
The deputy governor, who is Chairman of the planning committee, in her address, said this year’s edition would be bigger and better as it has assumed an international dimension.
Onanauga said: “This year’s edition would be bigger and better and has assumed an international dimension. The festival would be for three days commencing from Thursday, April 19.
“Up till date, 20 states have confirmed their attendance, more than 60 private troops are being expected, and 17 foreign troops from African countries have also confirmed their attendance.
“A conference, workshop, and exhibition will be conveyed by Professor Wole Soyinka at Olumo Rock Tourist complex. Professor Soyinka would be featuring with his creative task force at the conference tagged ‘Drumming for Advancement.’
“This will further contextualise the festival for better understanding and part of the side attraction is endurance trek tagged walking for the drum. The festival promises to be the best that has happened in the whole of Africa and beyond.”